Best Red Sox trade deadline move: The Nomar Garciaparra trade
You won’t find us slandering Nomar Garciaparra here as he was a very good player for a long time in Boston. However, the Red Sox were very close to being a real contender for a title in 2004 and while Nomar was hitting well when he was on the field, he was banged up and his defense left something to be desired. It wasn’t a great situation between him and the team by the time the trade deadline rolled around, so Boston worked a four team trade that ended up sending Nomar to the Cubs and brought Boston shortstop Orlando Cabrera and first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz.
Nomar would go on to be a productive hitter in the big leagues for the next six seasons or so, but the move got the job done for Boston. Mientkiewicz was pretty disappointing at the plate, but he was a good defender at first base and Cabrera was a stud in a Red Sox uniform. He hit close to .300 after the trade while playing strong defense at short and was a big reason why Boston took down the Yankees in that legendary ALCS in 2004. Nomar was (and is) missed, but the move was exactly what the Red Sox needed to finally win a World Series.
Worst Red Sox trade deadline move: Passing on Jeff Bagwell
Back in 1990, the Red Sox bullpen was a horror show despite the rest of the roster being very promising. Boston GM Lou Gorman (who was also responsible for the aforementioned Schilling/Anderson trade) felt like the correct move was to trade for the Astros’ Larry Anderson which made a lot of sense in a vacuum. To acquire him, Boston sent one of their top position player prospects to Houston. His name: Jeff Bagwell.
Yeah, that one hurts and is a lesson in why you should always hang on to bats you believe in and try to find a spot for them instead of valuing them less because they are “blocked”. Mo Vaughn was also a prospect at the time and while he was awesome, having him DH and Bagwell at first seems like it would have been….a much better option than what Boston did. Instead, Bagwell would end up being a Hall of Famer with the Astros and Anderson put together one decent half of a season with Boston before moving on to the Padres and Phillies.